Dr. Michele Krieger performs an ultrasound scan on an expectant mother at Life Choices Pregnancy Center in Kearney, Neb.
At the 126th Supreme Convention in 2008, delegates voted unanimously to establish the Culture of Life Fund, proceeds from which have since been used to continue the Order’s “longstanding commitment to marriage, family and the gift of life.” A year later, in his 2009 report, Supreme Knight Carl A. Anderson issued the following challenge to his brother Knights: “We should make sure that crisis pregnancy centers have all of the resources they need, not just from our ultrasound program, not just from our Culture of Life Fund, but in the form of supplies and volunteer time from Knights and their families in thousands of councils in communities large and small. Many mothers who decide to have their children will need help after the child is born. Building a culture of life will necessarily mean helping them then, too.”
Laurie Bollig, director of Loreto House in Denton, Texas, could not agree more. She offers her friendship to all the women who walk through the door of Loreto House. “I have found it easier and easier to love the women who come to us. When you hear the stories of hurt and abuse,” she said, “it is hard not to want to take them in your arms for a hug and tell them it will be all right.”
Bollig added that many young women just need to be reminded, or even told for the first time, that God loves them. A month after meeting Bollig, one young woman returned and said she had pondered the thought that God had a plan for her life. “She told me that she had changed her life,” Bollig recalled. “God blesses me with these women as spiritual daughters.”
In addition to assisting pregnant women, Loreto House covers the full-spectrum of life issues by providing services for the elderly and dying. There is a chapel on site, and all staff members receive training from the Sisters of Life.
Laurie Bollig’s husband, Randy, serves as vice president of Loreto House. A member of Denton Council 4771, he explained that Past State Deputy Leo E. Hanus (2004-06) got the ball rolling and secured a $1,500 grant to kick-start the fundraising efforts to purchase a new ultrasound machine.
When they received the machine, Laurie nicknamed it “Gabriel.” “Our machine is our own angel of life showing moms the wonder of the little lives inside of them,” she explained.
Nebraska State Deputy Michael G. Conrad has been excited about the Order’s Ultrasound Initiative since he first heard about it in June 2008. He immediately wanted to make it a reality in his home state. At the time, a campaign was underway in Nebraska that would require physicians to show women an ultrasound image prior to proceeding with an abortion. Recognizing that abortion clinics would settle for low-quality ultrasound machines, Conrad wanted to make the latest technology available, allowing women to clearly see their babies.
It took a year of planning and organization to make the purchase of a machine a reality. “As councils receive funds, we designate money towards pro-life activities, advertising, etc.,” Conrad explained. “Donations come from across the state. In a certificate of deposit, these funds were growing. We knew someday we would use this money for an important project.”
Even though the bulk of the population is located at the east end of Nebraska, some women travel six to eight hours to get an abortion. “It was important that the machine be placed where it could do the most good,” said Conrad.
Having a centrally located ultrasound machine would give all women in Nebraska an option for life much closer to home. Thus, Knights chose Life Choices Pregnancy Center in Kearney to receive the machine in July 2009.
“Right before the State meeting, we went to the center, and we paid for the machine. We got to see images of the babies,” said Conrad. “If we save just one life, it’s worth every penny. We must encourage councils to do this — it’s just the right thing to do.”
For more information about the Order’s Ultrasound Initiative, visit www.kofc.org/ultrasound.